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Auntie hops in bed with Murdoch on MySpace

BBC relations with BA, Face and Hannibal still tense

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The BBC's commercial tentacle has turned a blind one to the Corporation's past antipathy toward Rupert Murdoch in its hunt for wandering youthful eyeballs. A deal with MySpace, announced today, will see clips from TV shows and web-only videos pumped into the chaotic network worldwide.

Management are worried the BBC will be sidelined if it fails to build a strong presence where the yoof are spending their time online, and are obviously prepared to overlook Murdoch's past indiscretions to avoid that fate.

Relations between Auntie and Murdoch hit an all-time low in 1994, when he agreed to boot a BBC news channel off his Chinese Star TV network to appease the regime in Beijing. The Financial Times reported last year that Murdoch claimed the action was a purely business decision.

Nobody believed him, especially since he was in the process of buying the integrity-sensitive Wall Street Journal, and had even admitted kow-towing in 1994.

That's water under the bridge now though, since the Beeb can't afford to be so high-minded these days. BBC Worldwide has been ordered to double the profit it funnels back to the BBC proper within five years to pay for new online services. The government denied requests for a big increase in the licence fee.

Worldwide will get an undisclosed cut of the ad revenue on MySpaceTV pages carrying clips from BBC shows.

The deal with MySpace is similar to the YouTube one it announced last March, and its presence on Bebo. Like those tie-ups, it's pretty irrelevant to UK viewers, who can now use the iPlayer to watch whole programs without advertising*. ®

*Smug comments about AdBlock Plus are not welcome. We get it: your internets are far too clever for advertising. Well done.

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